Please create an account to participate in the Slashdot moderation system

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Books Censorship Your Rights Online

Libraries Release Most-Censored Books List 229

Posted by Soulskill
from the words-are-dangerous dept.
destinyland writes "The American Library Association released this year's list of the most-frequently censored books. (Included in the top 10 are two best-selling novels — Twilight and The Hunger Games — as well as Aldous Huxley's Brave New World.) The annual list celebrates 'the freedom to read and the importance of the First Amendment,' according to the library association, highlighting 'the benefits of free and open access to information while drawing attention to the harms of censorship.' Interestingly, seven of the ten most-censored books are now available on Amazon's Kindle — more than twice as many as last year."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Libraries Release Most-Censored Books List

Comments Filter:
  • Banned books week (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    This week is banned books week. Celebrate (?) by reading a banned book - say no to censorship :)

    • by MPolo (129811)

      The lists are interesting in that this year's list includes an item of required reading for my English classes (Brave New World), and last years includes a book that I required for English, even though it wasn't formally required by the government (To Kill a Mockingbird). [I'm teaching in Germany, where there are centralized exams to graduate from High School, so that everybody has to read at least some of the same books.]

      I suppose that it is censorship in a certain way, since the libraries typically receiv

      • by bane2571 (1024309)
        To be fair to the Libraries, this list is basically one of the public's complaints against books, not an actual list of censorship. The count also contains complaints for "age inappropriate" material and complaints from schools. I know I'd complain if my hypothetical 10 year old child was subjected to twilight.
      • Re:Banned books week (Score:5, Interesting)

        by jellomizer (103300) on Wednesday September 28, 2011 @05:46AM (#37537772)

        For twilight I think it is banned (partially) due to religious groups. But I think it is mostly from high school English teachers who do not want to read essay after essay about twilight from every girl. When they assign them a book report.

        I remember a college class on creative writing the first day of class the professor stated she didn't want any stories about God or Jesus. Not because she had a problem with religion, but she previously taught in salt lake city Utah, and every story she read was about God, and was sick of hearing the same thing over and over again in a creative writting class.

    • by lxs (131946)

      Just not Twilight.

    • by iiiears (987462)

      "..seven of the ten most-censored books are now available on Amazon's Kindle — more than twice as many as last year."
      I lol'ed

  • Not really censored (Score:5, Informative)

    by phantomfive (622387) on Wednesday September 28, 2011 @01:18AM (#37536576) Journal
    In this age of hyperbole, where everything is worked up to be a huge scandal (Obama is the antichrist, Bush is Hitler, and social security is a Ponzi scheme), it's worth mentioning that censorship here is not government censorship, it means someone decided to remove that book from their library. All these materials are easily available elsewhere.

    And frankly, if they're going to remove something from their library, Twilight is a great choice. Bravo, friends, bravo.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 28, 2011 @01:24AM (#37536604)

      It doesn't even really mean that someone removed the book from their library. If you read carefully it says that these are the most challenged books, where a challenge is defined as a formal written complaint or request to remove the book from the library. None of these materials are actually censored.

      But, the editors here clearly self-censored and chose not to read the article before posting it.

      Captcha: "paranoia" (somewhat apt).

      • by AlXtreme (223728) on Wednesday September 28, 2011 @01:59AM (#37536758) Homepage Journal

        Someone please mod AC up.

        These books weren't censored, they were challenged by over-protective parents fearing that their children might ask them uncomfortable questions. The books themselves weren't removed (I'd assume successful challenges might not even make it to ALA).

        "And Tango Makes Three" got the most challenges. Seriously America, you're worried about two male penguins hatching an egg?

        • by mosb1000 (710161) <mosb1000@mac.com> on Wednesday September 28, 2011 @02:16AM (#37536840)

          I question the claim that these parents are being protective of their children. I think they are doing nothing more than being bad parents by avoiding difficult but important conversations with their children.

          I am reminded of the fact that people who never learn to swim are much more likely to drown. You might think that they don't know how to swim, and so they will stay out of the water and be safer that way. The real world doesn't work that way.

          • Note that I used 'over-protective'. It's probably just as well parents being lazy, but the end result is the same regardless.

            Using your analogy: children won't learn to swim if their parents steer them away from water.

            Those parents might do so because they think it is too risky. They might not want to put in the effort. They might not be able to swim themselves. Regardless of their reasons or how they explain their actions, they are indeed harming their children in the long run.

          • I question the claim that these parents are being protective of their children. I think they are doing nothing more than being bad parents by avoiding difficult but important conversations with their children.

            I am reminded of the fact that people who never learn to swim are much more likely to drown. You might think that they don't know how to swim, and so they will stay out of the water and be safer that way. The real world doesn't work that way.

            You should also be reminded of the fact that the kids educated about drugs by programs like D.A.R.E. are more likely to actually do drugs than those not educated on the subject (source http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,99564,00.html [time.com] ). My point there is your analogy is not correct in every situation, and I believe this is one of those. These people are being good parents, rather than negligently exposing their children to materials that their children may not be mentally developed enough to u

            • by radish (98371)

              There's a difference between deciding that your child shouldn't read a certain book and challenging it, which is essentially asking that no child should be allowed to read it.

              And that's putting aside the absurdity of equating an extremely popular picture book about penguins to penthouse...my first child will be born soon (yay!) and there's already a copy of Tango on the bookshelf.

            • well placed concern

              Where? I don't think trying to stop children from reading certain books because you don't like their contents counts as "well placed concern."

            • by mosb1000 (710161)

              DARE grossly misrepresents the truth about drugs. Kids aren't stupid, and they resent being lied to and condescended. It's not knowing about drugs that gets them into trouble, but knowing that they can't trust what they've been told.

              I would say that not educating your children about drugs is a very bad idea. Do you really think it won't come up on it's own? Are you really sure that it wouldn't be better for them to hear about them from you? Because if that's the case, they'll learn about them from some drug

      • by T.E.D. (34228)
        You are quite correct in your first two sentences, then make the editor's same mistake in reverse in the next. If you have evidence that none of those materials were in fact removed due to the complaints, I'd like to see it. Otherwise, either don't make the assertion, or don't complain when the editors make the same logical fallacy. You don't get it both ways.
      • by tlhIngan (30335)

        It doesn't even really mean that someone removed the book from their library. If you read carefully it says that these are the most challenged books, where a challenge is defined as a formal written complaint or request to remove the book from the library. None of these materials are actually censored.

        If enough parents get together, "challenged" turns into "censored" very quickly. It has happened many times in the past and would probably happen in the future.

        There are many groups who do these things, includ

    • it's worth mentioning that censorship here is not government censorship, it means someone decided to remove that book from their library. All these materials are easily available elsewhere.

      Not unless the child in question has a ride to said "elsewhere".

    • In this age of hyperbole, where everything is worked up to be a huge scandal (Obama is the antichrist, Bush is Hitler, and social security is a Ponzi scheme), it's worth mentioning that censorship here is not government censorship, it means someone decided to remove that book from their library. All these materials are easily available elsewhere.

      Not again...censorship does not require involvement by the government to be called censorship. If you mean it that way, you need to specifically qualify it and say, "government censorship."

      Making it difficult for people to have access to information, any information, is a bad thing. It's not about whether you can get around it, and it's not about who is behind the censorship. It's about whether it's acceptable to take any steps at all to make it harder for you to get your hands on a book. It's not.

      And frankly, if they're going to remove something from their library, Twilight is a great choice. Bravo, friends, bravo.

      I kno

      • , but it's worth pointing out that it's always a great thing when others get denied access to things you disapprove of. It's only a problem when you get denied access to things others disapprove of.

        Until you realize that no one is being denied access to anything, you are not worth talking to on this topic.

  • It's been a while since I read it - what is it exactly that people object to in Brave New World?

    At worst, I remember it being a bit preachy.
    • Re:Brave New World (Score:5, Informative)

      by narcc (412956) on Wednesday September 28, 2011 @01:40AM (#37536668) Journal

      Oh, I don't know -- maybe something to do with all of the young children engaging in "erotic play". That sort of thing tends to make people uncomfortable.

      • by dkleinsc (563838)

        That plus the religious rituals to Ford that had an element of group sex.

        • Hey now, Soma-dosed orgies are nothing to be afraid of. After all, they are the 'killer-app' of the future!

          Ask not what your orgie can do for you, but ask what you can do for your orgie!
    • by loteck (533317)
      Children being encouraged to experiment with sex, I'd bet.
      • by Ash Vince (602485) *

        Children being encouraged to experiment with sex, I'd bet.

        If that was the case, you should start censoring MTV. Almost every female pop idol since Madonna has indulged in a bit of pelvic thrusting or whatever in the videos.

        I remember working at a gig one saturday morning building the stage with all the roadies when suddenly they were all outside the security guards hut leering at a Christina Aguilera video being shown on children's TV. They were all enjoying it immensely until someone pointed out their daughters were probably at home watching it too.

        Kids are encou

        • If that was the case, you should start censoring MTV. Almost every female pop idol since Madonna has indulged in a bit of pelvic thrusting or whatever in the videos.

          I think you mean Elvis.

      • And the wide acceptance of drug use in the book as palliative and beneficial.
    • It's been a while since I read it - what is it exactly that people object to in Brave New World? At worst, I remember it being a bit preachy.

      From the article (well, linked by it):

      Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley

      Reasons: insensitivity, offensive language, racism, and sexually explicit

      I suppose racism claims have been raised by some angry Delta (everyone knows Epsilons are not intelligent enough to fill a complaint). More seriously, perhaps the part about the reserve.

      Anyway, I find the article very poor if it comes from an association of well-educated people as librarians. The "top 10" lists does not even show how many hits each of them got.

      And,

      • by danlip (737336)

        Because it might wake people up to the fact the government wants a populace that is drugged and stupid? They are just using TV and NCLB rather than soma and stunted fetuses. And let's lot forget all that evil sex in the book.

  • Censored? (Score:3, Informative)

    by pahles (701275) on Wednesday September 28, 2011 @01:49AM (#37536706)
    The list is about "challenged" books, not about them being censored. Please RTFA!
  • by jevring (618916) on Wednesday September 28, 2011 @02:06AM (#37536798) Homepage
    The article lists the most *challenged* books. Challenging a book doesn't result in it being censored. The title of the article is incredibly misleading.
    • To be clear, FTA:

      A challenge is defined as a formal, written complaint, filed with a library or school requesting that materials be removed because of content or appropriateness.

      It doesn't say anything about how successful these challenges are.

      • To follow up on my own comment about the success of these challenges, I read the Wikipedia page on And Tango Makes Three [wikipedia.org], #1 on this year's list and also #1 for 5 of the last 6 years. It's based on a true story where two male penguins formed a couple and were given an egg to raise.

        To summarize the list of challenges on the linked page, which is hopefully representative of the challenges that went particularly far, there were...
        3 failed requests to restrict the book
        2 failed removal requests
        1 successful re

        • To follow up on my own comment about the success of these challenges, I read the Wikipedia page on And Tango Makes Three [wikipedia.org], #1 on this year's list and also #1 for 5 of the last 6 years. It's based on a true story where two male penguins formed a couple and were given an egg to raise.

          To summarize the list of challenges on the linked page, which is hopefully representative of the challenges that went particularly far, there were... 3 failed requests to restrict the book 2 failed removal requests 1 successful request to move it to non-fiction 1 successful removal, oddly based on no requests; the removal was reviewed and at least temporarily reversed, though I didn't find the ultimate outcome

          This is the mildest form of censorship I can think of.

          Only because people are standing up against this kind of censorship, and giving schools, libraries and districts that indulge in it bad publicity. Without this kind of attention, the no risk option would be knee-jerk censoring of anything that a parent opposes...

    • by tverbeek (457094)

      So they are examples of attempted censorship, not necessarily successful. It's still troublesome.

      • by jevring (618916)

        So they are examples of attempted censorship, not necessarily successful. It's still troublesome.

        There will always be people unhappy about something. It's their right to be. I don't think we have to be worried about people complaining about this until it's actually acted upon. It's not like we can prevent people from asking others to censor stuff. That would be censorship in itself.

  • Incongruous (Score:2, Interesting)

    by akeeneye (1788292)
    Alexie's book, written for teenagers, yet quite satisfying reading for adults, has a few references to jacking off as I recall. Any parent of teenagers who thinks this would be foreign territory to their spawn is delusional. But Nickel and Dimed?? Are the uber-capitalists now descending on libraries to challenge the sort of books that illustrate that the economic status-quo is not exactly peachy for everyone?
    • by dkleinsc (563838)

      But Nickel and Dimed?? Are the uber-capitalists now descending on libraries to challenge the sort of books that illustrate that the economic status-quo is not exactly peachy for everyone?

      It appears so, yes. FTFA:

      Nickel and Dimed, by Barbara Ehrenreich
      Reasons: drugs, inaccurate, offensive language, political viewpoint, and religious viewpoint

      In other words, they're going after it because Ehrenreich is an atheist socialist who believes drug use is acceptable. And the right wing is right about describing her as a pro-drug socialist - she's one of the co-chairs of Democratic Socialists of America, and on the board of NORML.

      • I'm assuming that if a book isn't put in the library in the first place it won't make it onto the challenged list. Otherwise I'd have to assume the library shelves are well-stocked with copies of Mein Kampf and The Turner Diaries, and that while many leftist books were banned no liberal parents had a problem with their children being exposed to Starship Troopers or the works of Ayn Rand.

        • by dkleinsc (563838)

          Well, I don't know about libraries near you, but in my area (which is politically quite liberal), in public and publicly accessible libraries, there were about 500 copies of The Turner Diaries, over 4000 copies of Mein Kampf, 1800 copies of Starship Troopers, and over 4000 copies of Atlas Shrugged. That suggests that those books are widely available. (This [worldcat.org] will help you find those books in a library near where you live.)

  • Amazon Kindle irony (Score:2, Informative)

    by tverbeek (457094)

    It's ironic that these books targeted for censorship are available for the Kindle, given the fact that Amazon engages in censorship of the Kindle store. [businessinsider.com]

  • Seriously, we seem to be constantly under the impression that somehow, if we don't expose kids at all human sexuality, then somehow they won't become sexual. IE somehow readings lists can trump millions of years of evolution...

    Here's a hint, the only kids interested in reading about "orgy porgy" are probably the only ones not actually recreating it :P
  • 4,660: Registered challenges to books since the beginning of the century.
    311,800,000: Approximate population of the United States in 2011.
    So, 1.49454779e-5, or .0000015%, of the population is responsible for
    the "Frequently challenged books of the 21st century" list.

    It's mind boggling that so few could affect the lives, or get the attention
    of, so many.
    Welcome to the era of rule by the lunatic fringe.

    • by bjorniac (836863)

      And that's presuming that there are no repeats - I'd wager there are people who object to more than one book at a time...

    • So, 1.49454779e-5, or .0000015%, of the population is responsible for the "Frequently challenged books of the 21st century" list.

      Umm, no.

      1.49454779e-5 is certainly correct.

      Alas, 1.49-etc isn't actually 0.0000015%. It's not even 0.0000015. The number you were searching for was 0.0015%....

  • Googling for some of these books that I had never heard of finds some interesting tidbits on what people consider censorship-worthy nowadays...

    The most common reason for the basis of the challenges is the poem “Ice Capades” which describes how Sophie is fascinated by her breasts’ reaction to a cold window pane

  • It would be nice if they listed the challenges specific to each book.

  • Aldous Huxley's Brave New World is also available on-line [huxley.net] for free ... unless, that is, you have to go through a censoring web proxy. I recommend it. It is not that long. It is interesting how much in sci-fi movies and literature that has been influenced by it.
  • Everybody complaining about the headline using the wrong word is absolutely right, but missing the point.

    These aren't people who don't want their own kids reading something they don't like. A parent has full power to deal with that at home.

    These are people complaining that other people's kids are reading things they personally don't want them to. Note that just about every "library" in the USA is run by some arm of the government. So if the librariies in question were to act on any of these complaints,

  • I read "Nickel and Dimed" in undergrad. I found it insightful. I had no idea it was so hated and/or feared by any establishment. I think I'll read it again since it's still on my book shelf.

    I love librarians-- the rebellious rabble-rouses!

"Bureaucracy is the enemy of innovation." -- Mark Shepherd, former President and CEO of Texas Instruments

Working...